International Child Protection Convention

The Child Protection Convention provides for international co-operation between convention countries to recognise protective measures for children. This includes recognition and enforcement of protection measures (such as court orders) made in one convention country in other convention countries.

The aims of the convention is to assist countries to recognise foreign protection measures and determine the correct court to make decisions about a child and the correct laws that apply to a child protection case. Some of the areas that protection measures under the convention can cover are: changes to parental responsibility, rights of custody, including the right to determine the child’s place of residence and rights of access to the child and the right to take the child out of the country.

(source:  Australian Attorney General’s department)

The above Convention was discussed in the case of Merrick & Wellington (2014) FamCA 514 (14 July 2014). In this case Bennett J heard a consent application under the 1996 Child Protection Convention to register a parenting order of the Family Court in England.  The UK court order allowed the mother to relocate the child from the UK to Perth “if the mother obtain[ed] an order from the Family Court of Australia that reflected the [UK] child arrangements order” [3].

Bennett J stated at [10] that under s 69E of the Family Law Act our Court has jurisdiction in reference to a child who is not an Australian citizen or resident of Australia if “it would be in accordance with a treaty or arrangement between Australia and an overseas jurisdiction, or the common law rules of private international law, for the court to exercise jurisdiction in the proceedings”. The 1996 Child Protection Convention is regarded as such a treaty.

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